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The Common Sense of Upselling

If you are in any type of business, chances are you sell something.  Whether it’s a product or service, you would not be in business if no one bought it from you.  Some people say that being in business is about making money.  Truthfully, being in business is about connecting with your clientele.  You may be a manufacturer, a distributor, a consultant or even an accountant.  It doesn’t matter what your business is, the fact is that you are in business because your company, product or service satisfies the needs or wants of a consumer.   The landscaper satisfies your need to keep a perfectly manicured lawn and your desire to not push a lawnmower.  The beautician satisfies your desire to keep a beautiful head of hair and the wig shop is there when you tick off the beautician and need time for your hair to grow back.

The direct correlation is already there if you are in business and making money, so you do not have to question whether or not you are meeting the needs and desires of your clients.  If you do, you may need to be reading a different article.  However, the question we must ask ourselves is whether we are truly uncovering the hidden wants and needs of our clients. Are we able to get them to talk about something other than what they came to us for?  My very first experience in sales was at a men’s clothing store.  The regional vice president asked me in a very intimidating voice, “If a man comes in, asks for a suit and leaves with a suit, what did you sell you him?”  “Uh, a suit”, I replied.  “NOTHING!”  He yells!  “YOU SOLD HIM NOTHING!  HE LEFT WITH WHAT HE ASKED FOR.  ALL YOU DID WAS TOOK HIS ORDER!  I was truly astonished.  I had never thought of that.  If all I’m doing is giving the client what they are asking for, I’m not selling at all.  I have reduced myself to a clerk, an order taker.  I began to watch and learn how to upsell and became very good at it.

If you go on to your favorite search engine and type in upselling or upsell, you will find a plethora of tips and tricks and hacks to help you upsell more.  Some even call it an art.  It’s definitely not an art, nor is it rocket science.  For anyone who is concerned with the needs of their clients as much as the bottom line, it is COMMON SENSE!  It all starts with asking questions.  One retail electronics company that I worked for took it to the extreme.  They suggested that the customer doesn’t know what they need until we tell them what they need.  They taught us to ask “lifestyle” questions to learn more about them and suggest products based on their answers, regardless of what they came in asking for.  This is a partial formula.  Consumers and businesses know what they need, but they may not know how to satisfy that need.  It is up to us as business owners, sales managers and sales people to get to know our clients by asking them questions and sharing tidbits about our other products and services.  Plant the seeds of additional opportunities by making recommendations based on what you learn about them.  There is never an excuse for one of your clients to purchase something they need from a competitor because they didn’t know you had it.  There is no excuse at all. 

If your customer comes to you to buy a computer, you should be all over that opportunity!  Why?  I’m glad you asked.  You need to know several things in order to not only satisfy the hidden wants/needs of your customer, but to also add additional dollars to your bottom line.  For example, why are they buying a new computer?  Are they replacing the old one or just adding another one to the network?  Did the old one stop working? What do they use the computer for?  What type of work do they do?  Are all of their peripheral devices and software programs compatible with the new machine?  How much time do they spend at the computer?  How much time do they spend typing?  Have they ever had any issues with carpal tunnel, poor circulation or back pain?

Now you are not only meeting the overt need, but you are also getting to know personal things about that customer.  Now you can recommend products to make their experience using the original product better.  For example, based on their answers you can sell back up drives, data transfer service, e-recycling service, PC networking, ergonomic mouse and keyboard, monitor lift, a new chair, etc.!  The list goes on and the possibilities are endless!   By simply taking the time to learn more about your customer, you have not only added dollars to a relatively mundane sale, but you have helped a customer address needs that they didn’t know they had.  It does not work for every customer, but it does work regardless of what you sell.  Build a relationship with your customer.  Get to know them better.  Spend time with them in conversation.  Help them even when they don’t know they need help and they will be a customer for life!  HAPPY SELLING!

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